Top five upcoming offshore wind projects along the US East Coast

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offshore wind projects
In July 2019, New York chosen Sun Wind project in an offshore wind solicitation. Credit: Sunrise Wind.

With a coastline of more than 20,000km, the US holds vast resources for the development of offshore wind projects. The country is estimated to have a potential for nearly 2,000GW of offshore wind, which is almost twice that of the current power consumption of the country.

Despite its huge resources, the US remains a laggard compared to its European counterparts in terms of installed offshore wind capacity. Currently, the country has only one operational offshore wind project, located three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island.

With a 30MW capacity, the Block Island wind farm online was the country’s first commercial offshore wind facility that started operations in December 2016.

However, estimates show that up to 30GW offshore wind capacity to be installed by 2030, with an investment of about $57bn. The estimated offshore wind investment is expected to result in tens of thousands of jobs, billions of economic activity and key coastal infrastructure.

Nearly 18 offshore wind projects under development along the East Coast

A report published by American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) showed that nearly 18 offshore wind projects are currently under development across 15 offshore wind energy leases in the East Coast.

The new offshore wind capacity is being driven by states along the East Coast, with Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia aiming to procure nearly 25,400 MW of offshore wind by at least 2035.

As of February 2020, the East Coast states have selected 6GW of offshore wind projects, as part of their clean energy targets.

Here are top five upcoming offshore wind projects along the US East Coast:

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project – 2.64GW

To be located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, the the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project will be built in three phases, each totaling 880MW. The Richmond-headquartered power and energy company Dominion Energy proposed plans to build the wind farm in September 2019, by filing an application with the PJM, a regional transmission organization (RTO) in the US.

The offshore wind project will located in the 112,800 acres Dominion Energy is leasing from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management off the coast of Virginia Beach. Ocean survey work on the proposed project is expected to commence in 2020. The company is expected to submit construction and operations plan in 2022.

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project
Ramboll to support the CVOW project. Credit: Ramboll Group A/S

In January 2020, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) was named as the preferred turbine supplier for the CVOW project. The contract also includes a long-term service and maintenance.

Though all turbine installations are planned to be completed in 2026, the number of turbines and the model to be supplied for the project is yet to be determined.

The first 800MW phase of the wind project is expected to come online by 2024, the second and third phases will enter into operations in 2025 and 2026, respectively. Once fully operational, the offshore wind project is expected to generate enough clean energy to power 650,000 homes.

In March 2020, Denmark-based Ramboll was selected to support development and engineering aspects of the CVOW project.

Atlantic Shores project – 2.5GW

To be developed by EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies, the Atlantic Shores project is estimated to have a potential for the development for 2.5GW of offshore wind capacity.

Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind president with Congressman Alan Lowenthal in June 2019. Credit: Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, LLC.

Through their joint venture, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, the companies plan to develop 183,353 acre lease area, located within the New Jersey Wind Energy Area on the US Outer Continental Shelf for the offshore wind project.

In September 2019, ocean survey operations were initiated for the lease area located 8-20 miles off the New Jersey coast between Barnegat Light and Sea Isle City. The survey was undertaken for future turbine development. The Atlantic Shores project will be bid into the next New Jersey offshore wind solicitation.

The offshore wind project, once operational will supply renewable energy to New Jersey residents across the state and beyond, powering nearly one million homes.

Ocean Wind project – 1.1GW

To be located 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey, the Ocean Wind offshore project is expected to generate enough clean energy to power more than half a million New Jersey homes. The wind farm will be located on a 64,944 hectares of lease area in the Atlantic Ocean.

The project is being developed by Danish energy company Ørsted in partnership with Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG). Ørsted currently operates the Block Island Wind Farm, which is currently the only operating offshore wind farm in the US.

In June 2019, the Ocean Wind project was selected by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) as the state’s first offshore wind project.

The project is expected make a significant contribution to the state’s renewable energy goal of supplying more than 1.5 million New Jersey homes with offshore wind power by 2030.

GE hallide wind turbine
Ocean Wind will feature over 90 Haliade-X 12MW wind turbines. Credit: GE.

The operation and maintenance (O&M) base for the project is planned to be set up in Atlantic City. Expected to come online in 2024, the Ocean Wind project will have an operational life of 25 years. During the development and three-year construction phase, the project is expected to create over 3000 direct jobs annually.

Ørsted is anticipated to take a final investment decision on the project in the second half of 2020. The offshore wind project will feature over 90 Haliade-X 12MW wind turbines, which will be supplied by GE Renewable Energy.

Sunrise Wind project – 880MW

To be located 48km east of Montauk Point of Long Island, New York, the Sunrise Wind offshore project is jointly developed by Danish company Ørsted and US-based electric utility Eversource.

Scheduled to commence operations in 2024, the wind energy facility is expected to generate enough clean energy to power more than 500,000 homes during its operational life of 25 years.

The Sunrise Wind project will be powered by SG 8.0-167 DD offshore wind turbines, which will be delivered by Siemens Gamesa.

An Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Hub for the wind farm will be constructed in the greater Port Jefferson area. The hub is expected to create 100 jobs.

Sunrise Wind offshore wind project
The Sunrise wind project will be powered by SG 8.0-167 DD offshore wind turbines. Credit: Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, S.A.,

In July 2019, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state had chosen Sunrise Wind to negotiate an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) agreement for the wind farm.

Con Edison Transmission and the New York Power Authority will support the development of the transmission facilities that are required to connected the offshore wind energy to the electric transmission grid.

The wind project has an average all-in development cost of $80.64 per MWh (2018 prices).

Empire Wind project – 816MW

Planned to be developed in an area of 80,000 acres, in federal waters of the US, the Empire wind project is being developed by Equinor.

It will located 20 miles south of Long Island, east of the Rockaways.

Upon coming online, the Empire Wind facility will be able to power more than a million New York homes.

Eimpire wind project
Prysmian to supply of submarine inter–array cable system for Empire Wind project. Credit: Prysmian Group.

In July 2019, it was one of the two offshore wind projects selected in New York’s first large-scale competitive offshore wind solicitation.

In March 2017, Equinor signed commercial lease for the federal offshore wind area for the project after the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) successful auction in December 2016.

The lease area holds the potential for the production of 2GW of offshore wind energy, which is enough to power more than 1 million homes.

In December 2019, Italian cable manufacturer Prysmian Group was awarded a contract for supply of submarine inter–array cable system for the offshore wind project.